Helicobacter Pylori

H. pylori infection occurs when a type of bacteria called "H. pylori" infects a person's stomach. It is a common infection that is prevalent all over the world. Generally, it does not cause any symptoms or problems. However, in some people, it can lead to:

  1. Open sores or ulcers of the lining of the stomach or duodenum.
  2. Stomach cancer

These conditions can sometimes cause pain or discomfort in the upper belly, nausea, or vomiting.


Most people with this kind of infection generally have no symptoms at all. However, suppose people develop ulcers related to this infection. In that case, symptoms can include abdominal discomfort, pain, bloating, or gassiness in the upper abdomen. They can feel full after eating a small amount of food. On the other hand, they may not feel hungry. Some people can even develop nausea or vomiting. When ulcers cause bleeding, it can manifest as vomiting blood or having dark black tarry bowel movements. As a result of bleeding, patients can also feel very tired.


Most commonly, this infection is transmitted from the fecal-oral route, meaning by sharing food with others who are already infected. In addition, it is transmitted from person to person.

Risk Factors

Sharing food with others is a risk factor for getting this infection. In addition, this infection can predispose to stomach cancer.


Sharing food with others is a risk factor for getting this infection. In addition, this infection can predispose to stomach cancer.

  1. Breathing test: This test measures substances in a person's breath after being given a special liquid or drink. It can help to confirm infection with H. pylori.
  2. Stool testing is also used to check for this infection. A small sample of your bowel movement is taken and tested for the bacteria.
  3. Biopsy: For this test, your doctor, when they perform an endoscopy, can take a sample of the lining of your stomach and test it under the microscope and help identify these bacteria.


Many antibiotic regimens are available which have a high success rate to treat this infection and cure it. Most people will need at least 3-4 medicines taken for about 14 days to cure this infection. Common side effects of these medication regimens can include abdominal discomfort, nausea, or diarrhea. These generally go away once the treatment finishes.

Research is ongoing to find the best treatment course and the shortest duration. Then a couple of weeks later, a test for cure is taken to ensure that the bacteria is gone. If the bacteria is still present, then a different course of medications is prescribed.

Also, people diagnosed with ulcers are tested for H. pylori infection. The treatment of this condition can help ulcers heal and prevent ulcers from coming back. Treatment for H. Pylori also prevents the long-term risk of cancer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that all people test and treat this infection.

When on treatment, it is essential to follow your doctor's instructions. Take medicines as recommended, and let your doctor or nurse know if you have any side effects or problems with your medications. Follow-up tests after treatment include a breath test, a test to check a sample of bowel movement for infection, and upper endoscopy with biopsy.

If the initial treatment does not eliminate the bacteria, people need further treatment.

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